Do you spend more on the weekends than you do on weekdays? Maybe it’s time to take a step back and reevaluate how you spend your time on the weekends.
Recently, Free Money Finance inspired me with a post on the 8 Weekend Money Traps that Money Magazine listed as the worst offenders of unnecessary, sometimes over-the-top weekend spending. If you frequently fall into these money traps, consider finding alternative weekend entertainment to save yourself a ton of wasted money.
Do you fall into these weekend money traps?
1. The Movie Theater
Going to the movie theater is expensive, especially if you buy popcorn, drinks and snacks, in addition to your ticket. Money Magazine recommends streaming or renting a movie from Redbox to watch from the comfort of your home, a much more economical choice. And you can always pop your own popcorn!
If you really, really can’t wait for the movie to be released on DVD, find a cheaper way to see it in the theater. Many theaters have a special bargain matinee pricing. My family goes to these matinees and we share a large popcorn (and take bottles of water) to save money.
2. The Car Lot
Holy cow! Do people do this for entertainment?! (Hangs head.) Yes, I know they do because I used to be one of the worst offenders. Not a good idea. at. all. At the time my husband and I used this for “free” entertainment, we were in a never-ending cycle of purchasing, financing, and paying off cars.
Unless you need to buy a car, avoid the car lots at all costs! You don’t even have to “shop” the car lots when you are looking for a car. You can call dealers and inquire about pricing and features prior to going and looking. Or you can shop for a quality used car on Craigslist.
Driving through car lots can inadvertently lead to unplanned, uninformed purchases. (Check out my this post if you’re in the market for a used car.)
3. The Mall
I’m probably weird in this respect, but I don’t find the mall to be entertaining at all unless I’m simply people watching (now that can be super entertaining!). You may go to the mall when you’re bored and don’t have anything else going on or just want to get out of the house. I get that. But going to the mall can cause you to spend money you never, ever intended to spend on things you really don’t need.
The next time you’re bored and want to get out of the house, go to a park for a picnic, take a drive to a nature area and hike, or visit friends or family instead of hitting the mall.
5. Open Houses
I totally get this one. I love, love, love looking at real estate. I’ve spent many a late night perusing realtor.com. But I do not allow myself to attend open houses. Just like the car lots, open houses make you feel like the grass is always greener on the other side. This could lead to spending thousands upon thousands of dollars, whether it be for an unnecessary home purchase or renovation to your current home.
6. The Furniture Store
Furniture stores are similar to open houses because the displays always look so cozy and put together (and clutter free to boot!). I mean, who wouldn’t want their home to look like a picture from a home magazine?! And the stores make it easy to buy with their offers of free financing and delivery.
Do you really need furniture? If not, stay out of the furniture stores. If you truly do need something to sit on in your home, buy used. Since many people spend time at furniture stores, they buy new furniture and need to sell their lightly used furniture. Let those people spend the money at the furniture store and you can buy their used stuff for a fraction of the retail price (I use Craigslist for my used furniture purchases).
7. Big Ticket Events
While the draw of going to the football game (or concert) and watching it live is exciting and fun, the costs go beyond the ticket price. Transportation, parking, food, drinks and souvenirs are extra costs we don’t consider when planning to attend a big event.
If you like to attend big events, whittle it down to one or two each year and choose carefully! Otherwise, plan to watch the big game on TV with a group of friends instead of plunking down hundreds of dollars to watch it live.
8. The Weekend Road Trip
The cost of a weekend road trip can add up to hundreds of dollars by the time you pay for gas, food, snacks, hotels and, sometimes, entertainment.
As Money Magazine suggests, if you really want a weekend road trip, take a frugal one! Plan to visit friends or family (and stay with them) and take along a cooler with lunches, snacks and drinks.